JOPLIN, Mo. — A church in Missouri gave away two AR-15s to young men that attended the church recently, the Joplin Globe reported, in an attempt to attract more men to church services.
According to the Joplin Globe, the Ignite Church in Joplin encouraged fathers to put their name in a hat on June 15 to win one of two AR-15 rifles. Each father could submit a ticket for themselves, and was able to add an additional ticket for each child they brought with them to church.
Church officials said they gave away the popular assault rifle instead of giving away lots of small gifts, as is typical of Father’s Day services. Officials said the giveaway was in attempt to draw more males between the ages of 18-35, one of the demographics severely lagging at Ignite.
The church has previously performed other outreach programs to garner more young males, including sponsoring hunting trips, outings to gun ranges and promoting rock music and video games.
Not everyone agreed with the giveaway, though, as many took to Facebook to criticize the decision to give away the guns.
“God does NOT condone guns,” one user said.
However, others liked the idea, including Dan McCain, who won one of the church’s guns.
“Firearm ownership does not equate to violence,” Dan McCain told the Globe.